zondag 28 februari 2010

Garment of February

It is funny how this blog works for me. In Dutch we have a saying literary translated says: stick behind the door. I can’t come up with an English equivalent, but I mean this: it forces me to do things I otherwise would postpone or won’t do at all. Because I feel I have to show you things, to keep you interested. There are people in the webspace waiting for new posts. You, dear readers. I want to please you and make a versatile and interesting place, here in the corner of www.
So after the thrill of the skirt that fitted so good, I said to you that I would make a garment for myself each month. The aim: building up a pattern collection for clothes that fit me like a glove. Making simple adjustments each time, for sleeves, or necklines, or extra plaids, or wider legs to keep the fun, but relying on a good sound construction.
And now February comes to a close so I feel obliged to show you the dress I have been working on for this month. It’s from a knit with a flockprint I bought in Utrecht. Each Saturday there’s a great fabric market there with more than 50 stalls. You are in paradise, there. (I sometimes dream of fabrics, really!).

But the dress. I’m not satisfied. The fabric is so good, and the pattern (# 9 from Ottobre 2009/ 5) might be good for me, but something went wrong.
A: the elastic I used is to broad (couldn’t find the one the mag called for and bought this on advise of the shopkeeper. Not a good advise).

So it bulks on the sides and is annoying to wear, because it won’t stay flat.

B. The front is to wide. It makes my waist disappear. I think the elastic is too wide.

Otherwise I’m pleased, with the back and the sleeves (had to cut them in two pieces and slightly widened the lower sleeve).

I hope my sewing teacher will come up with a solution and I can finish it. (I keep the neckline as high as possible, because I think that’s more comfortable) and will make a hem below the knee so it's a bit more sassy.
And the garment of March? That will have to be something easy, because I want to work on my springsuprise swap. But I have to say, I’m very tempted, tempted by the Loveliness dress from the recent Ottobre. I think I found the perfect muslin for it, yesterday. (I’ve been reorganizing my stash).

dinsdag 23 februari 2010

Life is a coctail.

Last week, I’ve been reading the biography of a famous Dutch woman, called Annie M.G. Schmidt. When you are from the States, of from Ireland, or Denmark, or any other country outside Holland, chances are that you never heard of her. That’s because her work never has been translated very much, being so very, very Dutch.
Annie M.G. was our queen of light verse. She wrote numerous songs, tales, and funny, naughty, rhythmical children prose. But she also is a part of our collective memory because of all the songs she composed for television series and musicals. Mark really likes to listen to her songs, because it brings back so many memories. (And that’s how I learned to appreciate her even more, through Marks enthusiasm).
When she was already in her 70’s she became a great television personality ass well, because she told so many funny stories about her life and sparkled with humor.
Because off her unique voice (and not have been reading her biography then) I assumed that her life would be unique, too. That of a great artist. I was very curious and anxious to watch the television series based of her life, broadcasted in January and February. For 7 weeks, I watched every episode. And was disappointed. The actress portraying her older years, only made her look grumpy and ironic, very one-dimensional. I missed the genuine fun she embodied for me. I really think that was a flaw in the script.
But what’s more, my expectations were not fulfilled. Because her live didn’t sparkle at all. She had her ups and downs, just like everybody else. It was her imagination and her work that fueled her vitality and lust for life, not her own history. And it was mirrored in the series: the scenes about her youth and marriage dragged on to long and were boring, but the fantastic parts, be it dancing people going to church, her library invaded by a German soldier (a story she made up), her songs performed in a circus tent, her deceased husband acting as a censor, 70-years old Annie dancing with the movers, these were fun to watch.
I would love to learn from Annie. Adding fantasy and humor in your life. Making it light and fun. Mixing it all together like a sumptuous cocktail. Annie, santé.

woensdag 17 februari 2010

Tutorial: how to sew a beret.

This is a tutorial intended to let you know how to make a fancy beret you can wear yourself.
This is an easy project, I think. I hope it inspires you to make a nice beret yourself.
Note: All the measurements are in centimeters.

What you need is fabric, a piece of paper, compasses and a sewingmachine with thread.

The fabric:

0,35 m of fabric for the outside
0,35 m fabric for the lining (optional).
A piece of 8 by 60 cm. knit fabric for the brim.

I used a fleece for the outside, a knit for the lining and ribknit for the brim. All more or less strechy fabrics, which make sewing easy. I used a small zigzag stitch to keep the stretch.
You could use wovens, but not for the brim. This tutorial only works for brims made of knit fabric.

Step 1. Draw the pattern. You need compasses to do this.

A. The lid. Draw a circle with a radiance of 15 cm.

B. The border. You need to draw 2 circles inside each other.

For the outer circle, draw a radiance of 15 cm. Then draw an inner circle of 9 cm. This leaves you with a border of 6 cm. Cut and use the piece of 6 cm. and fold it in half.

Note: if you have a big head, cut the fabric with 1 cm. seam allowances.
If you want to make the baret for a small child (2-3 years) use a radiance of 13 cm.
For older children, use a radiance of 14-15 cm. The border should always stay 6 cm.

Step 2: Cut the outer shell.

Pin the pattern to the fabric and cut the lid.

Cut the border. Place the pattern on a fold of the fabric and cut it out.

Step 3: Sew the beret.
Pin the lid and border right sides together.

Sew the pieces together.

Step 4: Make the brim .
Cut out a rectangle of 60 x 8 cm. This leaves you with a brim of 3 cm.
If you want a bigger brim, cut out a rectangle of 60 x 10 cm. This leaves you with a brim of 4 cm.

Fold it double and sew it with a larger zigzag stitch.

Make it fit: wrap it around your head and determine the actual width.

Each knit fabric has a different stretch, so just check in the mirror. It should fit like you want the real brim to fit. I like mine to cover my ears, so that’s how I measured mine.
The brim should fit snuggly around your head. Don’t leave any room.
Cut the brim with 2 cm. seam and sew together.

If you want a real nice seam, unpick a little piece and sew the edges together, like this.

Step 5: Attach the brim to the beret.
Mark the beret with 4 pins, on 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock.

Do the same with the brim.
Pin the pieces together, right sides together. Make the marking pins meet each other.

Sew the pieces together, while you stretch the fabric of the brim. Remove the pins and you’re
Put on you beret and laugh in the mirror
(clean the mirror before you take a photo, otherwise you're nose might look strange)

If you want the beret to be a bit warmer, or more finished add a lining.

Step 6: Add a lining.
Repeat step 2 and 3 for the lining.
Mark the lining.

Mark the brim

Pin together.
Pin the right side of the lining to the the brim. Watch the photo carefully, look at the seams, because you can get confused here with wrong and right sides.

Sew the lining onto the brim but leave a gap of 6 cm.
It should look like this.

Turn the beret inside out, through the gap.
Close the gap by hand.


Note: There is probably a better way to sew the brim to the border, doing it all in one turn (sewing border, outer shell and lining together in one run). Ask me again in 3 years time, when I'm more skilled, to explain. For now, I'm pleased with my own way of doing it.

Since this is my first tutorial, please feel free to comment on any flaws or unclear descriptions. I really would appreciate it very much.

A beret

I've been busy making my own beret. This one's finished. I've been experimenting a bit and documented everything I've done, so there's also a tutorial coming up. But I need more time for that. So if you want to know how to make this and are not tired of yet another lesson in blogland, stay tuned.

dinsdag 9 februari 2010

Oh boy

Last week, I lend a Burda from the library. Since it is almost Carnaval in Germany (Burda being German) they featured some nice dress-up clothes for children. I loved the mask and decided to make it for a 6-year old boy with a vivid imagination called Bas.
It was done in less than half an hour. I used a small piece of Moda quilting fabric which reminded me a bit of the characters in Venice and a thick interface I brought with me after workshop in bag-making. Sewed an elastic band inbetween and cut out the holes for the eyes, and presto, ready.

I finished it off with 3 fake mustaches, for Bas and his brothers. Browsing through the fabulous Celebrate the Boy photostream on Flickr I was so inspired by a picture of girls showing their fake mustaches I read the post of meisjesmamma (a crafty, inspiring Belgium mum of 2 girls) and following link after link came upon this template.
I bought some thicker felt, used for collars in jackets, cut out the shapes and sewed on a simple elastic string. With this result.

Pelle is modeling in all the pictures, because I don’t want Bas to be on the internet without permission. No mustache for Pelle though, he doesn’t like this weird thing under his nose.

If you have boys, check out the Celebrate the Boy month from Made and Made by Rea (click on the icon on the right ). Tons of inspiration, great tutorials and fun. I so support their initiative. Sewing for the boy, that’s my motto.

vrijdag 5 februari 2010


So here’s the skirt!

I used pattern nr. 4 from Ottobre nr 5/2007. It was meant as a muslin, but it turned out so good, I can wear it for real. It’s a little bit to wide in the waist, but I can easily correct that the next time I’m going to make one. And I definitely will! I am so very, very pleased something I made for myself turned out so good.
I didn’t do the ribbon on the seam of the hip pieces, as the magazine suggested, since this was a trial, but now I regret that. The ribbon would have given the skirt a bit more dimension.

Sewing it was surprisingly easy. I used a regular zipper in stead of the recommended invisible one, because I just though a regular zipper would be good enough.
Here's the lining.

I did not use any interface. My sewing teacher came up with another idea, namely using a twill band into the inner waist seam to prevent the fabric from stretching to much.

Here’s the overall picture. My face looks a bit funny because I’m talking to my friend, who made the shots. Normally I’m much prettier and wear shoes.

Dear followers and other unknown readers, this skirt is such an good incentive that I decided to make one garment for myself every month, this year. I already have plans for a knit dress.
So that’s my cliffhanger this time. Stay tuned!

dinsdag 2 februari 2010

Ready, steady, cook

I am a volunteer at a club called Speel-o-theek. We lend toys to parents and grandparents, like a library lends books. I joined it when we moved to the village and it’s been such a grand way to learn a lot of mothers (like Mooimiek ) and become part of a social network.
Recently we bought a new kitchen for kids to play with and I offered to sew an apron and some other accessories.
It was so much fun! Although I saw beautiful examples on Flickr,
I used an Ottobre pattern, because I had that at hand.
I changed the apron a bit, making it a little narrower and longer. The latter wasn’t necessary, I think it’s a little bit too long now. Because the cotton I bough was a bit thin, I decided to make a lining, hence the apron is reversible. I also made the hat (chef's cap?). Next time, I’m going to make the upper part a litter bigger so it will have a bit more volume. There’s still a boy’s apron to make (a long one, from the waist down) combined with a classic white hat, and some oven mittens. But I just couldn’t wait to show you this.

And what’s with the skirt, some ardent followers will wonder.
Yes, almost finished. I had to wait for instructions from my sewingteacher, this morning. In my next post I will show you the stunning result.